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Hollowell vs. The Citizen: Some back and forth

My entire family have already voted and I we didn’t vote for you. Furthermore, I heartily agree with EVERYTHING Cal Beverly said in his article about you.

While I find you a very affable well-spoken individual, I don’t think you are qualified for a seat on the board of education.

You have grossly overstated your financial background and are so closely aligned to Janet Smola, Terri Smith, Leonard Presberg and Jeff Bearden that it is hard to determine where you would stand on the critical issues facing the sinking ship called the Fayette County Board of Education.

Bearden will be in a tough fight to keep his job after a new board is seated. In my opinion, he should have been shown the door some time ago for his TOTAL lack of leadership and inability to deal with the financial nightmare that he has helped to bring about under his watch.

I will work tirelessly to make sure that Terri Smith is defeated later this year. She and Janet Smola have made so many awful decisions and have brought the school system to the brink of financial ruin.

On another subject, but one that we should not forget, Smola talked about her vast financial knowledge and experience when she ran for election some time ago. However, she has clearly demonstrated that she doesn’t have a clue what is going on and, I for one, am delighted to see her go.

I appreciate your desire to sit on the BoE but I sincerely believe your opponent, Dr. Marchman, and Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao have the necessary qualifications the citizens of Fayette County desperately need to help get Dr. Todd and Marion Key to get us out of the financial mess that Smith, Smola, Beaden, and to a lesser degree only because he is relatively new, Presberg, have put us in.
The unbelievably bad financial forecasting and budgets prepared by the CFO, Laura Brock, have played a major role in bringing the school system to the edge of financial ruin. For Bearden, Smola and Smith to blindly sit there as if they are brain-dead and accept her incompetence is shocking to say the least!

Jim Richter
Peachtree City, Ga.

On Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 10:33 PM, Scott Hollowell wrote:

Mark Twain wrote: “If you don’t read the newspaper; you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper; you’re misinformed.”

I strongly disagree with Cal Beverly’s “editorial” published in the Citizen News today, July 25th, 2012 on several points.

FACT 1: Mr. Beverly has the audacity to call me a “stealth candidate” when he is the one who is suppressing information about my campaign. Mr. Beverly emailed me a list of questions on July 12th, 2012 and I sent my responses on July 13th.

PROOF: Below is an excerpt from the email dated July 13th from Beverly and I quote him:

Cal Beverly wrote:

“For the record and for publication, please answer the following questions:”

Yet to date, none of my answers to Beverly’s questions have been published.

FACT 2: Mr. Beverly admonishes me in his “editorial” not to be “slippery” or “evasive” when, despite multiple attempts to engage him in conversation or interviews, he never returned my calls.

PROOF: Below is an excerpt from an email dated July 25th from me to Beverly addressing his “editorial”:

Scott Hollowell wrote:

“I left 2 messages for you when I announced I was running so we would have a chance to get to know each other and you could ask me questions about my vision for the school system. You can confirm with John Munford. That is hardly the actions of an evasive candidate.

Let’s talk about this.
I can be reached at 678-788-6009

Scott Hollowell
School Board Candidate”

I never heard from Mr. Beverly. I have never spoken to Mr. Beverly. To do so would be inconvenient to Mr. Beverly and the narrative he has constructed in his mind.


Mr. Beverly has long been a champion of transparency except when he doesn’t want to be transparent. A democracy works best when voters can examine the issues and make their own decisions. Mr. Beverly wants to usurp the role of the voter and just tell you what you should do.

To the best of my knowledge:

1: No sitting School Board member has said what schools they want to close and which ones they want to open and

2: No School Board candidate has said which schools they want to close and which ones they want to remain open.

It is hypocritical for Mr. Beverly to apply this litmus test to me and not to the other candidates and especially to the current School Board members.


I am the candidate in this race who has a proven track record of supporting public education and my regular attendance at FCBOE meetings over the past three years is due to my children, both of whom I have entrusted to the Fayette Public School System.

I know that my children have benefited greatly in the public system’s care and while there are significant challenges ahead, I promise to you that I will continue to work to improve our schools so that people who have sought out other educational routes, be it private or home schooling such as Dr. Barry Marchman, will feel confident in entrusting their children to our care.

Vote Hollowell for School Board July 31st

Below please find the entire email dated July 13th with all of my responses to Beverly. I have added one clarifying comment at the end.

Scott Hollowell wrote:

Regarding your questions – here are my responses:

Cal Beverly wrote:

Scott, last night I received (and participated in) a telephone political survey that asked only three questions about support for the T-SPLOST, Rep. Westmoreland and you. That naturally got me curious. For the record and for publication, please answer the following questions:

Scott Hollowell wrote:

I am also curious about the poll and I have to say I do not appreciate my name being attached to other campaign issues. I do not know who is conducting this poll but it is certainly not us. I would ask you to please share information on who has put together this poll as I have a few questions for them.

Your first two questions are moot points – it isn’t my poll.

Cal Beverly wrote:

1. What did you or your campaign pay for this poll and who suggested it to you?

2. What implications should I draw from this interesting confluence of you plus a congressman plus a regional sales tax? Are you all getting your backing from the same pool?

3. Rumors abound that you are the Smola-backed replacement on the BoE, intended to carry on Smola-like policies and positions in the future.

So I ask you, flat out, no slippery evasions, (1) how long have you known Janet Smola, (2) have you and she or anybody connected with her had any conversations about her decision not to run again and your subsequent decision to run in her place, (3) did you vote for Smola the last election,

Scott Hollowell wrote:

I have heard this before. It is reasonable to conclude people who would like to see Barry elected are spreading the rumor, using the Citizen blogs, as their preferred method of communication. It is a malicious rumor with no foundation in truth.

Ben Nelms has seen me attending School Board meetings for the past 3 years. I have children in the school system and am a strong advocate for an excellent public school system.

I have also been concerned about the financial issues impacting the school system from both the state and FCBOE. So I attend meetings, became an informed citizen and am running for School Board. Also I view the health of the FCBOE as a keystone for the community. I want to do everything possible to ensure we have a strong school system.

I am active in the community and frankly enjoy being a viable citizen of Fayette County. Fayette County is my home - I want to see it flourish and I want to serve as a member of the School Board. Having served on a number of committees and active in the business community, I know a lot of people – including Janet. I have no idea what “Smola-like policies and positions in the future” are – nor am I interested.

I have my own viewpoints on ways to address challenges facing the FCBOE. As far as I’m concerned, Janet served her time as an elected school board member and has chosen to step down which opens up her seat. I am running for it and hope I get elected.

I have my opinions on the issues you listed below. What I am not privy to is the information the school board had to make their decisions. You certainly have more information per Ben Nelms expertise and FCBOE insider contacts – so I’m taking your questions as you simply asking for my “opinion” not on you dissecting a “right or wrong answer” but rather you’d like to get a sense of how I view these issues. Fair enough?

Cal Beverly wrote:

(A) Settlement of the NAACP lawsuit;

Scott Hollowell wrote:

Philosophically, I am in favor of at-large voting. I would have like to have seen the School Board coordinate a defense with the County Commissioners. However, I have not been privy to legal counsel provided to the School Board or to the County Commissioners.

Cal Beverly wrote:

(B) Appointment of Leonard Presberg to the BoE;

Scott Hollowell wrote:

Dr. Tolbert’s death created a disruption to the school board and a new representative from his district needed to be chosen by the school board members.

I heard the candidates speak at a school board meeting and thought there was good representation of citizens who had qualifying backgrounds. I do not have the information the school board had to make their choice so I really can’t say if Presberg was the best candidate. The school board voted unanimously for Presberg - clearly they felt he was the most qualified.

Cal Beverly wrote:

(C) Selection of Presberg as chairman;

Scott Hollowell wrote:

The elected school board members chose him. You’d have to ask them. The important question for me is – do I think I can work with him. And yes, I do.

I believe an important quality to being a good community leader is the ability to work with people with different viewpoints. I believe I can work with Leonard Presberg as well as other current school board members.

Cal Beverly wrote:

(D) The future status of Tyrone Elementary School?

Scott Hollowell wrote:

I am concerned for the welfare of Tyrone if Tyrone Elementary School closes. I think there is an important community tie into Tyrone Elementary that can’t be callously underestimated. There is also a costly septic tank issue, costs of running Tyrone Elementary and new school sitting vacant down the road. These are exactly the kind of problems I want to be elected to resolve.

It’s easy to look at Tyrone Elementary and see a financial liability but I look beyond that. I see a community that is deeply rooted into Tyrone Elementary that will be badly hurt by its closing – because I am committed to Fayette County I want to find solutions to challenges that will benefit the growth of our County. I’ve got some ideas on this – but it would be premature to discuss them without having all the facts – and those will only be available to me if elected.


I am now adding a clarifying remark about some of the criteria I would use to base a decision on school closings and the facts I don’t have.

1.Classroom Size:

I stated at the GOP debate on July 18th, Ben Nelms can confirm, that classroom size is an important criterion to me in regards to school closings. If schools are closed and students are integrated into the remaining school, how will that impact student-teacher ratios? This is of utmost concern to me because that can negatively impact the quality of our children’s education.

We won’t have good enrollment numbers until after school starts. The number of students obviously impacts the resulting classroom size.

2.A Final Proposal:

Superintendent Bearden, who must make the proposal to the Board for a vote, has not presented his final proposal.

I can’t comment on something that doesn’t exist.


Even though I’ve been denied publication in The Citizen, I have been at meet and greets, debates and events throughout this county. I am the candidate in this race who has a proven track record of supporting public education and both of my children benefit from the Fayette County Public School System.

I know there are significant challenges ahead and I promise to you that I will continue to work to improve our schools so that people who have sought out other educational routes, be it private or home schooling such as Dr. Marchman, will feel confident in entrusting their children to our care.

Vote Hollowell for School Board July 31st

Thank you for your support!
The Committee to Elect Scott Hollowell to School Board


That's why he's running for BoE. The most critical issue facing this school district is the budget. We need the guy who has the most expertise to address *that* issue. Having one’s kids in our public schools does not make one more qualified to serve on the BoE. Fayette County schools are in a world of financial trouble, and having someone with Dr. Marchman’s credentials and financial expertise is a tremendous opportunity for Fayette County voters. Haven’t we been bemoaning the utterly dismal financial decision-making by our current BoE? Let parents choose what’s best for their own kids as far as public vs. home schooling goes. Evaluate the candidates on the criteria that are germane to the job they will be doing. Dr. Marchman could lend valuable skill to our BoE. Vote Marchman.

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